Guterres condemns deadly attack on civilians in Niger

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

By Cecilia Ologunagba

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has strongly condemned yet another attack by unidentified gunmen on civilians in Niger on Monday in the department of Banibangou, in the Tillabéri region of the country.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the Secretary-General, said this at a briefing for correspondents at UN headquarters in New York, on Wednesday.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the briefing, quoted him as saying that Guterres had expressed his deepest condolences to the bereaved families.

“The secretary-general is deeply concerned by the cumulative impact of these frequent attacks on the humanitarian situation in the region of Tillabéri.

“He is worried about the situation in the region where already more than 100,000 people have been displaced and 520,000 are in need of humanitarian assistance.

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“The secretary-general calls on the Nigerien authorities to spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“He reiterates the commitment of the UN to continue supporting Niger in its efforts to counter and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, promote social cohesion and achieve sustainable development,’’ Dujarric said.

Similarly, Guterres had on Aug. 12 condemned a similar attack by unidentified gunmen in Banibangou in the region of Tillabéri of Niger.

Fifteen people were killed on Aug. 9 in an attack in western Niger, less than two weeks after 33 people were killed by suspected jihadists in the same area, according to reports.

Banibangou falls inside what is known as the three-borders region between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, which for years has been the scene of bloody attacks by jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Two attacks blamed on jihadists at the end of July left 33 people dead and prompted Niger’s interior ministry to promise tougher security measures in the region and to bring the killers to justice.

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